Spider wasp attacking a spider

Spider wasps

Spider wasps are named after their prey - so it will come as no surprise that they hunt down spiders, including some as large as tarantulas. The spider wasps are often not after a meal for themselves, but for their larvae. A female wasp will paralyse the spider she's caught, and then lays a single egg on it. When the larvae hatches out it has a fresh spider ready-meal waiting.

A few species of spider wasp have given up hunting spiders and instead attack other types of spider wasp. This very cosmopolitan family of wasps contain around 5,000 species; unusually all of them are solitary and nest alone.

Scientific name: Pompilidae

Rank: Family

Common names:

Spider-hunting wasps

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Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web